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Phoenix Goodman (shown here on the left) in wrist ties

Phoenix Goodman (shown here on the left) in wrist ties

Below is an interview Marcy Winograd, long-time contributor to the LA Progressive, conducted with Phoenix Goodman, a West Los Angeles protester detained on May 31st by the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD). Goodman was one of thousands protesting on the streets, along with the Black Lives Matter movement, when the Santa Monica Police Department detained them. Marcy was not at the protest in Santa Monica. She interviewed Phoenix after the events unfolded. Marcy is simply relating what Phoenix wrote to her.

Marcy says, "If what he describes is true (and again I was not there), then we need a full accounting and change in leadership at the Santa Monica Police Department."

—Sharon Kyle, Publisher

Here is the interview:

Marcy Winograd: When the police closed in on both sides, did they use a net to kettle you? How did they round you up? How many of you do you think?

Phoenix Goodman: The police stood shoulder to shoulder, shield to shield from one end of the sidewalk to the other on both sides, creating an airtight wall of officers that no one on the street could escape from. For about 20-30 minutes in this position, they received orders every few minutes to take steps forward, tightening the gap. For the entirety of this time, trapped individuals like myself—who had not been rioting or looting but merely standing peacefully and chanting/holding signs—were begging to be let out to go home.

The police stood shoulder to shoulder, shield to shield from one end of the sidewalk to the other on both sides, creating an airtight wall of officers that no one on the street could escape from.

We were all ordered to stand back and helplessly await our fate. It was a dramatic scene, people screaming to be let out, a girl having a panic attack, medics who were not protesters but simply there to administer medical help were begging to be let out. Finally, the police all decisively moved in from both sides and grabbed everyone that was trapped, detaining all of us and confiscating all our possessions. I was told that I was being temporarily detained and not being arrested. They did not read us any rights and did not tell us what we were being arrested for, even when we asked them."

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MW: Where did they take you to?

PG: They boarded us onto a police bus and hauled us to a holding center at the Santa Monica airport. They took all of our names and had us wait for hours, until around midnight when we were put on various buses and dropped off at various locations around the city. When we got off the bus, everyone was told that they would not be receiving their possessions. At this point, we were notified that we had been arrested for the 6pm curfew.

MW: What time did they dump you out in the street without your wallet and keys?

PG: They dumped us on the street at approximately midnight with no phone to call anyone, wallet to buy anything, or keys in case we could make it to our home or cars. They said we could pick our things up the next morning at the police station, which was miles away. The only thing any of us could do was find kind strangers on the street to borrow their phones or simply walk to the station and wait until morning.

Marcy: Anything else?

PG: I got to the station at 8:30 a.m., the time they had said it would be available. At the entrance, the officer notified us that it would be a week before we could pick up our belongings. Since people had just gone through all that, and had somehow found a way to make it there the next morning, and then told that our phone, wallet and keys wouldn't be available for a week, regardless of the officers the night before telling us it would be available at that time, people got livid. The Lawyer's Guild representatives told them that they could not do this. At this point I got R's number. When I got back that morning is when I sent that original message. A few hours later I contacted R and she notified me that between the pressure from them and the disaffected people causing a scene they finally caved and started releasing people's belongings.

Also, I'll point out this irony; we were arrested for curfew and then dumped on the street in the middle of the night during that same curfew.

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Marcy Winograd